Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors reported it first: Billy Butler has agreed to a three-year, $30 million free agent contract with the Oakland Athletics.
That’s quite a lengthy commitment to a designated hitter whose OPS has been in a freefall over the past three seasons — .882 in 2012, .787 in 2013, and .702 in 2014 — but Butler is only 28 years old and the average annual value of the deal ($10 million) isn’t too bad. Maybe he’ll be able to find new life with the A’s, who excel at exploiting righty-lefty matchups.
Butler is a .314/.393/.519 career hitter against left-handed pitching. He batted .255/.301/.352 versus righties in 2014.
Oakland needed offense. Butler should be able to help that cause, in doses.
Pirates prospect shortstop Cole Tucker stepped up for an injured Erik González on Saturday and wasted little time proving that he was ready to shoulder major-league responsibilities. After starting the game 0-for-2, Tucker pounced on Derek Holland‘s 2-2 sinker and sent it out to center field for a two-run shot in the fifth inning.
Following the tie-breaking blast, Tucker responded to cheers from the crowd with… perhaps a little more ceremony than the occasion required. He was the second of the Pirates’ prospects to record his first major-league hit during the game, as outfielder Bryan Reynolds also hit a single off of Holland in the fourth.
Jung Ho Kang struck out to end the inning, after which a rain delay was called. The Pirates currently lead the Giants 3-1.